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Flash Fiction Friday: Tucked Deeply into the Pocket of Sleep’s Trousers

by Matt Sunrich

The fact is, most houses contain at least one monster.

They usually live in attics and basements, proverbially enough, as these are among the least visited spaces in a residence. The larger the house, the better they like it, as there are bound to be great swaths of the place that remain unoccupied most of the time.

There are, of course, a variety of monsters, and the bulk of them are, thankfully, basically humanoid in appearance. The type of monster a house contains is closely related to environment more than anything else. Unfortunately, there are monsters associated with every biome, so all you can do, really, is choose the one that disturbs you the least.

Unlike insects and other household pests, all attempts at keeping them out are futile. Let’s just establish that right now. They can always get in.

For all intents and purposes, the best thing you can do is just assume that one is living in your house and act accordingly.


It was a warm Saturday morning in early October when Emily Pollock made a fateful error.

She had woken up feeling out of sorts and decided that it would be best to call in to work. She oozed out of bed and stumbled to the phone in the hallway, lifted the receiver and began to press buttons. Unfortunately, the number her addled brain impelled her to dial was not that of her employer but, rather, her own.

Now, under normal circumstances, this would have proven merely annoying, but in this particular instance it resulted in something else entirely.

Emily, who had never been much of a go-getter, worked a menial job, as her degree in Anthropophagy—she had failed to read the application form carefully—had yielded nothing worthwhile and, in fact, often got her ejected from the offices of interview committees with large vocabularies.

Fortunately, her parents had allowed her to move back into her old room, though they politely avoided her most of the time, as they had a large vocabulary between them, and locked their bedroom door at night to avoid accidentally being consumed in a moment of desperation or confusion or what have you.

They had both already left for work by the time she got up, leaving Emily in the house by herself.
The phone rang six times before anyone answered, which was highly unusual. The voice on the other end that ultimately reverberated against her eardrum was harsh and dry.

“Who disturbs my slumber?”

“Burrito Hut? Pollock here. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it into work today.”

“If you hang up immediately I might consider sparing you.”

“I’m sick. I should probably stay in bed, you know?”

“This is your final warning, mortal.”

“It’s not like I call in that often. Cut me some slack. I feel really yucky.”

“Have it your way, then.”


Bemused, Emily replaced the receiver and stood, bracing herself against the jamb of the linen closet, looking down at the living-room furniture through the balustrade and wondering whether or not she had just been sacked, unsure of whether or not she even cared. She was completely ignorant of the fact that she had just engaged in a clipped conversation with the creature in the basement.

Why her parents had had a phone installed down there is anyone’s guess.


Now, the interesting thing about domestic monsters is that their ability to terrorize the resident’s occupants is limited by the fact that they’re frequently thwarted by doorknobs.

It’s difficult to say why such a simple thing could prove such an obstacle. Perhaps the concept eludes them. Perhaps when the killing instinct possesses them they lack the presence of mind to execute rudimentary tasks. Perhaps it’s just, as they say, one of those things.

They don’t dare break a door down, as this would be too noisy, and stealth is the monster’s bread and butter. As such, they have no choice but to wait until someone opens it for them.

This was indeed the case with the monster in Emily’s parents’ basement.

After hanging up the phone, it had ascended to the top of the stairs and then stopped dead, hoping that the girl it had spoken to would find some reason to come down there. It noticed a paint can filled with soiled rags, thought they looked quite interesting, and imagined that she might have need of one at some point. The faint aroma of WD-40 permeated its nostrils as it absentmindedly slid a tentacle along the door’s grimy facing.

Prior to the phone’s ringing, it had slept for over thirty years. The basement was very dry, as the area saw less than average rainfall, making it the ideal environment. The ground beneath the sub-floor had an unusually large number of trenches (the result of small tectonic shifts), one of which had been the perfect width and depth for its sarcophagus, and the footings were spaced in such a way that they created the simulacrum of a small temple.

The phone had rung many times before, of course, but someone upstairs had always answered it by the third ring. On those rare occasions when a call came in when no one was home, it would stop on the fourth or fifth ring, as people gave up if no one had picked up by then. The tipping point was six rings, for reasons lost to the ages, and until that morning it hadn’t come to that.

The monster had never seen the interior of the house and had never given it much thought. It had merely been looking for a safe, perhaps permanent, place to rest. Its former dwelling, an abandoned department store, had burned down, and, awakened by the extreme heat, it had barely escaped. Fire was dangerous to everyone, but it was particularly bad for those who, like it, had been mummified.


Emily crawled back into bed but found that she couldn’t sleep. She threw the coverlet off and painted her toenails and then tuned the radio to a jazz station and played Escape from the Mindmaster on her Atari 2600 (made possible by Starpath’s patented Supercharger expansion cartridge). After a while she began to feel a bit better and decided to eat a bowl of cereal.

When she reached the kitchen, she emptied the box into a bowl and found that the cereal had been replaced with washers. While they bore a passing resemblance to Cheerios or Apple Jacks, it was clear that no amount of milk or sugar was going to make them palatable. She picked one up and examined it and then allowed her eyes to roam about the room. When her gaze fell on the door leading to the basement, it struck her that perhaps the cereal and washers had—not unlike the Prince and the Pauper—traded places. These sorts of things, though unusual, were known to happen.


At over eight feet in height and possessing glowing, red eyes; jagged tusks; desiccated, bandaged skin; and four tentacles protruding from its back, the creature cut an imposing figure. It had been born (if birth is, indeed, how you’d describe such a thing) untold years before in Upper Egypt, when a careless scribe got distracted by a beautiful, deformed woman as she fell from a chariot and accidentally drew the wrong hieroglyph on a shard of ostracon. The sun had just set, and the shadows in the nearby escarpment coalesced like spilled ink into the horrifying thing that now stood, thousands of miles from its land of origin, at the top of the basement stairs.

Those who survived the encounter dubbed it Throk’z.

It had not, of course, come into existence mummified. That had come later and was the result of a terrible misunderstanding. Nevertheless, the process had depleted none of its savagery, though it found that, having no internal organs, it suffered frequent indigestion.

Not that eating in the traditional sense of the word was a major concern.

The creature dug its bony fingers into the door when it heard Emily moving about in the kitchen beyond, and its tentacles flailed menacingly.

When her footsteps neared, it silently glided back to the basement floor and concealed itself beneath the stairs, watching through the slats as the door swung open.


Emily flipped the light switch, and the bulb, suspended on a wire from the ceiling, snapped on. She vaguely recalled that her father kept the washers on the shelf next to the hot-water heater. The unpleasantness of eating cereal that had moldered in the basement didn’t even cross her mind as she descended the steps.

The shelf in question was covered with dusty nuts and bolts and rusted machine parts. She crouched down and saw the washer box at the very back and reached for it.

Just as her fingers were wrapping around the container, something brushed against her leg.

Her entire body went cold.

She wasn’t sure whether she should turn around or remain perfectly still. She ultimately decided the former would be the best course of action. The washer box fell from her hand as she beheld the horror that hovered over her.

Throk’z’s eyes burned like coals in the half light, and its dry, mephitic breath came in rasps. The black nails on its cracked fingers inched toward her, trembling in anticipation. Emily was paralyzed, and though the notion of screaming occurred to her, no sound whatsoever emanated from her vocal folds.

Just then the phone rang.

Both Emily and the monster turned their heads to the off-white rotary phone attached to the wall.

It rang again, and a bead of ice-cold sweat ran down Emily’s back.

On the third ring, Throk’z crossed its arms and sighed.

“You gonna answer that?”

Emily nodded slightly and reached for the receiver, keeping her eyes focused on the monster. She held the earpiece several inches from her head as she spoke.


“Pollock? Where the hell are you? You were supposed to be at work two hours ago.”

“Um, it’s complicated.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Emily recoiled as one of the creature’s tentacles snatched the receiver away from her and placed it against the side of its bandaged head.

“I must warn you that you are dealing with forces far beyond your feeble mind’s ability to comprehend.” Its eyes narrowed at this, and it ran a fingernail across the corner of its mouth. “Sorry, that was an awkward construction, wasn’t it? What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been having a rotten morning and am in no mood to deal with more crap. So please kindly get off the line.”

Without waiting for a response, it hung up.

“So,” Emily managed, “where do we go from here?”

Throk’z looked around the tenebrous basement and then back at her. “I’m at a loss. I really just want to go back to bed. I was planning on killing you, you know, ripping you to shreds, but I don’t think I have it in me anymore to do that sort of thing. It’s just too much trouble.”

Emily cautiously moved toward the stairs. “I don’t suppose I’ll be seeing you again.”

“Nah,” it replied. “I think I’m gonna find a new place to crash.” As it shambled back into the darkness under the floor, Emily studied the Cheerios scattered on the concrete but had lost her appetite.


Three years later, Emily got a lucrative job delivering garbage to billionaires but disappeared while flying a shoddy replica of the Enola Gay over the Himalayas on a dare.

Throk’z’s current whereabouts are unknown.


Matt Sunrich is a librarian/organization enthusiast residing in Tallapoosa, GA. He enjoys comic books, pulp fiction, sword and sorcery, horror, classic video games, urban legends and folklore, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, word games, and the music and lyrics of They Might Be Giants. His fiction has appeared in The Strange Edge. He recently penned two essays on Star Wars that will appear in forthcoming anthologies from Sequart. He is currently working on a book about fantasy heroine Red Sonja for Hasslein Books. His first crush was on Smurfette

Flash Fiction Friday: 2015 New Bizarro Authors, Pt. 3

Here are some great excerpts of the last three NBAS books of 2015.

King Space Void by Anthony Trevino(Buy It Now!)

“What do you think, Dane?”

The crew member’s face was a charcoal sketch, but Dane recognized the voice. It was Fattahipour from the morning crew. Odd, Dane thought to himself. Fattahipour usually kept away from the Aphrodite, choosing to stay inside and learn more about the history of King Space Void rather than interacting with his fellow citizens.

Fattahipour went on talking before Dane had a chance to respond.

“Something happened to me the other night, Dane.” Fattahipour kept massaging the spirit box. “I had a dream. A dream about us; where we’re going.”

“You saw the edge?”

“No. No, nothing like that.”

“What’d you see?”

“Oblivion, Dane. I saw oblivion. We’re heading for something awful,” Fattahipour said. “That’s why I figured, why not see what these boxes are all about. We already live on layers of death, but maybe the other side holds more promise.”

The severed arm tried to creep back into Dane’s head, pollute his good time. He pushed it out, focused on Fattahipour who was pulling the box slowly open. A small light emanated from it, further intoxicated everyone close by. Lit up by the box’s glow, Fattahipour’s silver hair turned almost bone white. His eyes, and those around them, were honed in on the spirit manifesting before them. Dane felt the pull on his mind; he didn’t just want to see inside of it, he needed to.

Dane fell into the moment.

A blue face began to take shape in the box. It seemed friendly, grateful for being let out.
Work. Play. Work. Play. He really didn’t have anything to fear or worry about.

Twin orbs of gold light formed in the eye sockets of the face. The higher Fattahipour lifted the lid the more the face stretched and moaned. Dane couldn’t take his eyes off it. Even though it didn’t speak, he felt all the pleasures the spirit offered, all of the ecstasy available to him if he would just relax and submit.

This was life aboard King Space Void, and everything was great.

Until the alarms went off.

Pixiegate Madoka by Michael Sean LeSueur (Buy It Now!)

-9:00 AM, UROBOCHI HIGH Courtyard

Can’t wait to meet the other squads. This is going to be awesome. Now, if only Akagawa-san would hurry up with her tune-up and man-bike discussion with Molly.

Man these girls are awesome. Now, which one should I date first? Marjorie is feisty, fries up food like a motherfucker, and would probably be fun in the sack…but she is a bitch with a capital C. Then, there is Setsuko. She’s the calm, level-headed intellectual type…and could prove to be quite the mental sparring partner. I could see myself having several discussions with her on ethics in journalism and the benefits of socialism. However, she doesn’t seem like the type that knows how to have fun. That leaves Naomi Akagawa. She’s klutzy, adorable, and knowledgeable. She’s also surprisingly mature for her age. She makes delicious strudel, too. If only she were a bit more of a nerd like I am. It sucks, but it’s the truth. Girls just don’t read manga or play video games. Maybe I should ask the Redditors for help? She’s the closest I’ll come to my dream girl.

I pull out my cell phone, sign into my Reddit account(my handle is dandy_dapper24), and post a topic in r/dating_advice.

“How to Win The Affection of my “Almost Perfect” Dream Girl?”

I describe her qualities, my own qualities, and my inexperience with dating.

This’ll be great. I’ll check it again after class.

The courtyard is quiet and the sky around the school burns red.

This is weird. Shouldn’t there be more people here?

The doors to the school bend, shift, and fly off. An army of large, muscle man rabbits and frogs fill out the space. The rabbits clench their fists and kiss their muscles. The frogs lash their electrified tongues out and clear away the trees and bushes nearby.

“Julie Argento~” says a voice from on high. I look up to the voice and see a woman in a red pin stripe suit descending to the ground. Her suit flutters, and she wears half of a red mask over her face. She lands in front of the rabbits and frogs. They remove their mask to reveal a pencil moustache and a mole under their left eye. A scar in the shape of an X covers the left cheek.

A drag-king? Okay, I can dig it. Non-conformist gender practices, yeah!

“My name is Scardick Montana. Your sister sends her regards.” He snaps his fingers and two rabbits charge forward.

The other rabbits blush and moan don’tlookatmethatwaybaka and noticemesenpai. A rush of wind hits my crotch. The skirt flutters and the rabbits scream about how bad they want my PANTIEJUNK. I fire a few soap shots at the rabbits, and they shrink in size.

Scardick claps his hand, and a frog fires a mucous bomb at me. I unhinge my wrist and fire a bleach ball bomb at the mucous. They collide mid-air and explode. Scardick claps his hands again, and all of the frogs fire mucous bombs at me. I send out several bleach ball bombs to match the level of mucous being shot out at me. My vision blurs with each colliding explosion until I pass out.

Benjamin by Pedro Proença (Buy It Now!)

“Look on my works, ye Patty, and despair!”

The man sits besides the Boy and Benjamin. He’s about fifty, wearing a faded green zoot suit, and a red fedora. He’s something out of a cartoon, thinks Benjamin. He reaches out towards the Boy, and if Benjamin could flinch, he would.

The man just strokes Fred, whose hair stands up with the contact of that strange hand. Benjamin notices that the hand, although normal shaped, is scaly and grey.

“I like that name for you, Patty. Are you a girl? You look like one.”

The man just pets the cat absently, his eyes fixated on the now almost empty bookstore.

“I had a cat named Patty once, she was my special friend. Where I’d go, she went. We went through the good times and the bad times together. I miss her very much.”

Benjamin can see the man is not paying attention to him or the Boy. He mentally signals his friend to drop Fred down and go.

The Boy does not move.

“Listen, let go of the cat. He’ll be safe in the mall. Let’s just get away from this creature.”

Fred has calmed down now, and accepts more of the man’s petting. Sometimes, the man’s weird hand brushes against the Boy’s, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He can only see his “Patty.”

“I’ve miss you so much, girl,” the man says. There are tears streaming down his eyes now. He stops petting Fred and buries his face in his hands, sobbing.

“Now!” Benjamin says.

With a new display of his odd agility, the Boy gets up in one swift motion, Fred in one hand and Benjamin’s string in the other, and starts to scurry away from the stranger, crying man.

“I’m so glad I ate that whore you were with,” the man says, still holding his face, the crying now gone.

Flash Fiction Friday: 2015 New Bizarro Authors, Pt. 2

The next three books to be featured from the 2015 NBAS are:

Arachnophile by Betty Rocksteady (Buy It Now!)

My neighbor dangled in front of me, her limbs working restlessly against a strand of web. Her legs arched and trembled as her eyes acknowledged me. I could see recognition in them, and she wavered in greeting. I nodded, my forehead breaking out in a sweat.

A drop of venom shone on her fang, glinting in the light. She swung into the elevator, her large body arcing gracefully through the air. The limited space crowded us together, and she brushed against me, sending a shiver down my spine. There was a moment where I thought I would run, but the door closed.

We were alone. Her head inclined slightly toward me, the silence heavy in the air.

“Erm.. I hope… I do hope you’re settling in okay.” I croaked. Her eyes shone. She remained silent, but my words seemed to lull her and she turned away from me, allowing my eyes to take her all in.

I had never been so close to one before. The soft curves of her body were beautiful and grotesque, the smooth gleaming shell of her abdomen. The patterns of shapes and colors she displayed were fascinating. She glanced over her shoulder at me, as if she knew I was watching, and something about the way her eyes shone set off a reaction in me, heat filling my cheeks.

The elevator sank down dozens of floors and we stood there together for a silent eternity. I could feel how conscious she was of my presence. I couldn’t stop thinking of the effect she had on me the other night. A faint tinge of that same sweet musky smell permeated the elevator, bringing the memory into sharp focus, how hard I had been. How hard I was becoming now.

Without looking at me, one of her back legs extended towards me. Slowly. Casually. A gentle caress against my calf, rubbing it along the side of my ankle. She paused for a moment at my sharp intake of breath, but pushed just a little further and I felt the brush of her flesh- sharp, angular, inhuman, against the sensitive inside of my ankle. I longed to stroke her smooth exoskeleton, but my hands felt clumsy, sweaty, numb.

The elevator stopped suddenly. We had arrived. She walked gracefully out, her eyes glinting back at me. I stood in the empty elevator, face red, and watched her abdomen sway as she walked away.

What was I becoming?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Head Case by Lee Widener (Buy It Now!)

At the Nuclear Burger Chaino draped the towel over the head and strode through the front door. That felt good. He hated going around back to the employee’s entrance. The manager spotted him immediately.

“Durante, what the hell’s the matter with you? You’re late,” he said.

“I ain’t late, I’m right on time,” Chaino replied.

“Look at the clock, moron. You’re ten minutes late.”

“No I ain’t. I don’t work here no more.”

“What the? Are you quitting, Durante? You need to give two weeks notice.”

“I’m quitting right now and I’m robbing this place.”

The manager laughed.

“Robbing us? You and what army, loser?”

“This army,” Chaino said, pulling the towel from Alice Cooper’s head.

“What the hell is that, a Halloween mask?”

The young lady behind the cash register gasped. “Ew, gross!” she said.

“Durante, put that thing down, get into your uniform and get in back. Now.” the manager said.

“I tell you, I’m robbing this place!” Chaino shouted.

“Pull the trigger, kid,” Alice Cooper said.

Chaino pointed Alice Cooper at the manager and pulled the trigger. Cooper opened his mouth and a giant spider web shot out, wrapping itself around the manager.

“What the hell?” the manager squeaked, trying to pull the web off.

“Empty the registers and give me all the money,” Chaino said, pointing the head at the cashier.

“Sure, Chaino. Whatever you say,” she said, dumping the money into the largest take-out bag they had and handing it over.

“I never liked you either,” Chaino said, pulling the trigger again, wrapping a web around the cashier.

The girl screamed and fell on the floor.

“I’m sorry Chaino! I never meant anything! Just joking, you know. Geez!”

“Point me at that asshole manager again and pull the trigger one more time,” Alice Cooper said.

Chaino pulled the trigger and this time dozens of black spiders came pouring from the head’s mouth, each with a tiny red hourglass on its abdomen.

“What the fuck, Chaino!” the manager screamed as the spiders bit into his flesh, each one injecting its poison.

The manager twitched a few times and then lay motionless.

“Holy cripes, Alice, I didn’t want to kill anybody. I just wanted to rob the place.”

“He was a jerk,” Alice Cooper said. “We’d better get out of here.”

“Yeah, good idea,” Chaino said, glancing back at the manager’s body.

As he hurried through the door he heard the cashier scream so loud he could hear her clear through the glass door. Shit, he just killed a guy. With Alice Cooper’s head.

Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul (Buy It Now!)

He opened his eyes and took one last look at the Finals Orgy. They were now in full-coitus unaware of what Jason saw—a group of nude women and men walking slowly toward them. They were covered in dirt and scars. They kept their eyes on the teenagers like they were prey and their only purpose was to devour them.

Jason was not scared seeing the creepy sight. He let out a big breath and smiled feeling relief at seeing the Fuck Followers.

These nude people who attacked those having sex were scattered all over the nation. They were given the crude nickname because they were neither Final nor Slasher, but they attacked and killed anyone engaging in coitus or anyone who wasn’t a virgin.

When Slasher and Final citizenship went federal, there was an option for people to be in an experimental program to be in neither group but to still help with population control. If you refused to choose you were put to death. 97.8% accepted their new roles of Final or Slasher, 1.2% chose to be put to death, and 1% of old-America chose the experimental population program.

Doctors worked on neurotransmitters, stem cells, linguistic and senses programing believing they could program the group of useless people to attack those engaged in intercourse to stop more pregnancies. Through the experimental retraining program, the 1% of men and women lost their sense of identity and became like dogs able to sniff the act of sex and go and stop it.

The experiment worked a little too well as the “Fuck Followers” as laymen labeled them, went after not just current sex acts but also anyone who was no longer a virgin. The scientists didn’t realize the scent of sex stayed on all human beings. While the Slasher and Final society emerged and stayed strong, the Fuck Followers became the boogeymen that both sides feared.

The only people who didn’t fear them were virgins and Jason sat down against the tree for the first time since he got there, feeling like he could relax.
He couldn’t believe the Finalers didn’t notice how close the Followers were. He felt a little bad for them and maybe even a little jealous. He never cared that much about sex but the thought of Rachel The Slazer made him realize like everyone else he wanted to get laid and also that the Finalers were people and didn’t deserve a Fuck Follower Fatality.

Jason stepped out from behind the tree and called out, “Hey, Finals,” they looked up from bliss, looking embarrassed and angry. “Though I hate you guys, none of us should get killed by Fuck Followers. They are coming for you and you should run.”

The naked Finalers went from anger to concern when they looked away from Jason and saw six Fuck Followers coming from different angels.
“Ooooblow bluckkk,” said a Final girl with an erect penis still in her mouth.

Flash Fiction Friday: 2015 New Bizarro Authors, Pt. 1

For this week and the next two Flash Fiction Friday will exhibit excerpts of The New Bizarro Author Series for 2015.

Rainbows Suck by Madeleine Swann (Buy It Now!)

The doors exploded open, neon pinks, purples and blues bursting onto the streets and the skin of those waiting. The others cheered, but Tilli remained quietly determined. A rainbow glided into the doorway.

“Friends, neighbours, welcome to Sensus Invictus. Step in and feel your boundaries shatter…” he stepped aside and everyone scurried in, taking seats on either side of a clean, white runway. Tilli elbowed her way to the front of the left side, if she could just remain in view of the rainbows swirling about the ceiling and walls, occasionally disappearing backstage…

A vortex appeared at the end of the runway, swirling furiously. The audience gasped in shocked delight. “Ladies and gentlemen,” boomed a voice neither male nor female, “welcome to the first ever Live Art Extravaganza!” The people cheered and so did Tilli, the excitement spreading like an infectious disease. The first Art, a man with a golden quiff stretching almost to the ceiling, stepped out from behind the screens. The onlookers oohed as he strode to the end of the runway, narrowly missing the vortex which waited hungrily for him. His hair shot out and grabbed a woman’s handbag and she squealed in mock protest. His mane rolled it about for a few seconds before spitting it back into her arms, now covered in attractive sequins. He stomped back to a loud applause.

A girl now appeared, her dark skin almost like velour. In fact, when Tilli squinted, she saw it was velour. It seemed at first as if her coat jiggled as she walked, but Tilli it was writhing independently. A few faces peered out and stretched the fabric before sinking away into dark blue nothingness, whereupon more faces took their place. “Oh darling,” said a woman to a man sitting next to her, “that’s the coat of souls I read about in Tittles. Isn’t it divine?”

“Simply divine,” was the response. Tilli glanced about, sweat prickling her temples. Time was moving on, why hadn’t they noticed her? Maybe she could approach them at the end…

Another Art stepped onto the runway, making his way to the vortex and summoning The Dark One before turning to head back. The next Art appeared from behind the screen. The first, on shoes taller than a young man, wobbled and the crowd uniformly breathed in. The second Art began stomping towards him so as not to lose time, but the first was falling slowly, gracefully, into maw of the whirlpool. All eyes were on him, nobody saw the second Art desperately twirling and cartwheeling to get their attention. The first was sucked down into oblivion and, before anybody had a chance to scream, the second exploded in a shower of glitter and rainbows which stained the white runway. Both men and women screamed as loudly as they could and several fur covered watchers fell dramatically to the floor, though of course one eye flickered to their companions to make sure they were watching.

Towers by Karl Fischer (Buy It Now!)

We were Towers and we shattered the sky.

We were three hundred meters tall, anchored to the bedrock on mammoth monopile roots. We were carbide skeletons on which steel and lead and graphene plastic matrices were layered to form oblique, unbreakable skin. But most of all, we were the Gods of Fire and War and Thermonuclear Destruction. When we unleashed Atomic Hounds upon the night’s void, every kingdom shuddered and every mortal knew why we were built.

We were Towers.

But we had one weakness: those that lived inside us.

They thought I couldn’t feel them walking in the corridors of my marrow and the ventricles of my heart. The human germs crawling and feeding and fucking—sometimes fixing and reloading—but always, always scratching. They caused me to look inward. They did nothing but distract me from the fight.

I was human once, and I remember that it was miserable. Prejudice, anxiety, want—the hallmarks of my short existence. I lived without certainty. But there was certainty in steel. There was certainty in the exhaust of a newly launched missile and the white, celestial explosion that its terminus brought. There was certainty in Quatra.

The time I spent being human was good for only one purpose—to meet Quatra, the singular cog that would mesh with my own.

Alone, we were overwhelmed by the lizard gestalt of our brains. Brought together, we made of ourselves a functional mechanism. We had a use for all our meltwater emotions. Death, however, reminded us that love did not exist in its stygian paradise. Death could walk, and it arose from the ocean to make war upon the last human cities. In those dying days of civilization, the Towers were built to defend what remained.

So long ago.

Requisition called for people to operate the Towers and we volunteered. Shed the flesh, fight for a thousand years, and in return, be admitted unto the Afterlife. What was a millennium compared to an eternity with Quatra? To be without separation, without sorrow or fear, I would pay any price.

I counted down the days.

A thousand years gone.

But these humans. These viral dwellers. I could feel them inside me, as they were in every Tower, and the sensation repelled certainty. What were they doing to me? I fought with everything I had. What more could they want?

It was my rest period of Day 365,241, my last day of service. I dreamt that Quatra and I were parasites in our own skin, and we were ravenous. We cannibalized muscles of polymer and concrete and went deep into the organ meat of our power plants. We were vermin crawling in cavernous spaces that were wet with blood, yet smelled of dust. Our real bodies, the spires, were dead. The planet was a necropolis and our enemies loomed overhead, breathing hellfire and pulsing clouds of devastation. We could do nothing but weep at the basework of our titanic hearts. We couldn’t even hold each other because we didn’t know how.

Then I woke up screaming.

Elephant Vice by Chris Meekings

The captain’s office was small. A desk fan buzzed in one corner, with ticker-tape streaming in its breeze. The morning sun crashed through the window in an orange torrent and struck the poster of the kitten hanging from a branch. “Hang In There, Baby”. The captain slammed the door closed behind Detective Vincent Van Gogh.

“Sit down,” he commanded.

Captain Horrald Smalling was a short, squat man, covered in thick brown hair and the labels of beer bottles he’d drunk in the past week. His jacket was off the peg, off his shoulders and slung unheroically over the back of his walrus leather chair. The sleeves of his shirt, which depicted nudes from around the world, were rolled up. Two dark sweat patches had formed under his arms, even though it was only nine in the morning.

“Captain,” questioned Van Gogh, “didn’t you used to have two ears?”

The Captain, self consciously lifted a hand to the side of his face. Where his left ear should have been was a bare patch of skin, no scar, no blood, no hole, just barren skin.

“You’re right, Van Gogh. I woke this morning to find that gone. And worse, there were signs of a break in. Some bastard forced his way into my apartment and stole my ear.”

“That’s….that’s weird,” said Van Gogh, lamely.

“Enough about that, I got a case for you, Van Gogh,” he spat from around the blunt stogie in the corner of his mouth, “a big one. Mayor’s son was found turned into a sofa this morning.”

Van Gogh ran his fingers through his hair and down to his beard. His ear had been right, it was trouble.

“Another **** head?” he questioned.

“Yeah, some new drug cartel has moved in, ****’s been hitting the streets. So, you’re up, Van Gogh. Investigate. Find the bastards that are dealing it, and bring ’em in,” snarled the captain.

Van Gogh scoffed. “Captain, no one has a greater opinion of my abilities than I do, but even I don’t think I can take on a whole cartel.”

The captain’s eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Well, that’s lucky. ‘Cause you won’t be doing it alone. You’ll be doing it with a partner. Ganesha! Get in here!” he bellowed.

The door opened and Detective Ganesha came in, in a cloud of musk and flies. Dressed in an Armani cream suit, Ganesha stood seven feet tall from his dapper white brogues to the top of his massive elephant head. His trunk curled around the door handle and swung it shut behind him. He held, in one of his four hands, a pen knife, which he flicked open and closed as if it were a nervous habit.

“Namaste, detective,” said Ganesha, putting two of his hands together and giving a slight incline of his huge head. “I am most looking forward to working with you.”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” said Vincent Van Gogh, eyeing the Hindu deity up and down. Deep and dark, like an abyssal trench, Van Gogh felt the ground beneath him slip away. “Captain, no. You know me. I work alone. I do not work with people, let alone elephants.”

A frown crept across Ganesha’s face.

Tour Through a Buddhist Hell: The Suphanburi Hell Temple


And now for another installment of a Buddhist hell road trip. I told you there were a lot of Buddhist hells around these parts!


This time I went on a trip to Suphanburi province about 2 1/2 hours from Bangkok to visit the “Hell Temple” or Wat Phai Rong Wua (วัดไผ่โรงวัว.)

This is the 3rd Buddhist hell I’ve seen and it’s by far the most incredible. The number of enormous grotesque statues depicting various torments for sinners, packed into one hell park was incredible.

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Show Me Your Shelves: Scott Cole

I met Scott Cole online a few years ago and then had a chance to hang out with him at BizarroCon. He likes talking books and movies, so we got along splendidly. He’s an easy guy to get along with and one someone whose passion for weird films, horror, comics, and bizarro are hard to ignore. Needless to say, I was stoked when he become a fellow NBASer. Now, besides his bizarro chops, we get to check out the stuff he’s filled his shelves with. Dig it.

GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

SC: I am Scott Cole – master illusionist, renowned chef, military strategist, humble philanthropist, and author of SuperGhost.

Books are big for me. I’m always reading something. They’re one of the few things I spend money on, beyond food-and-shelter-type necessities. I worked in an indie bookstore once upon a time, and was able to buy books at the store’s cost. That was a hungry year.

I’ve probably got enough books in my house to use as bricks to build another house. Maybe I’ll do that someday, just so I have somewhere nice and quiet to sit and read the ones I haven’t gotten to yet.

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GI: You read horror, bizarro, and other genres. Give us your top ten for the last two years. Then, tell us about a book you loved that no one would’ve guessed you dug.

SC: I’m constantly behind when it comes to new stuff, and I’m always going back to read things I missed, or just recently discovered (for example, I’ve been reading a lot of 1930s “Weird Menace” stories the last several years). There’s just so much out there, and so many new books coming out all the time, it’s impossible to keep up. But I’m trying. So let’s say Top Ten Things I’ve Read in the Last Two Years (Or So), Which May Have Been Released in the Last Five or Six, Although I’ll Try to Keep it as Current as Possible. In no particular order:

I Am The New God by Nicole Cushing
The Atrocity Vendor by Nick Cato
Never Bet the Devil by Orrin Grey
Light Boxes by Shane Jones
Misery and Death and Everything Depressing by C.V. Hunt
Fantastic Orgy by Carlton Mellick III
We Live Inside You by Jeremy Robert Johnson
King of the Perverts by Steve Lowe
Clown Tear Junkies by Douglas Hackle
In the Fishbowl, We Bleed by Jeremy C. Shipp

People will look at this list and say “But what about _______?” And I’ll just have to say “It’s in my TBR pile. I’m getting to it. I swear.”

As for a book I loved that no one would guess? Hmmm. Would people be surprised to know I enjoy the hell out of some Dashiell Hammett? Or that I have a big collection of reference books on graphic design? Or that I generally don’t like superhero comics, but do have a couple dozen Batman collections? I have no idea.

How ’bout I change this question around too, and instead give you a movie that no one can seem to believe I hated. Easy. Cabin in the Woods. I saw a preview screening before the hype started, and I…disliked it. Actually, I could rant against it for hours, but maybe I’ll save that for an essay.

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GI: Finish these sentences:

SC: Adam Cesare is: actually just a family of turtles living inside a canvas bag stitched to look like a human.

Philadelphia is: probably nicer than it gets credit for, and definitely far, far weirder than it’s known for.

Writing bizarro is: about the most fun one can have telling lies without getting into (too much) trouble.

My favorite sandwich is: the vegan cheesesteak at Blackbird in Philly. Seriously amazing, whether you eat meat or not.

You have to read Junji Ito because: he’s one of the most important voices in modern horror.

Your momma is so fat: making fun of her is only making things worse.

GI: Got any ghost stories from real life? What/who/where would you haunt if you were a ghost and why?

SC: When I was a kid, we would visit my grandparents’ house on Cape Cod a couple times a year. The stairs going up to the second floor were hidden behind a door in the living room. One day, while my parents and grandparents were outside, I was inside watching a Creature Double Feature, and that door suddenly popped open. I jumped up, ran to it, and saw some sort of dark shape at the top of the stairs. I closed that door real fast.

Now, the door opening could’ve had something to do with the house settling, and the shape I saw may have been conjured up by my monster-movie-obsessed mind, but I’m not going to say that’s what it was for sure. Who knows.

If I was a ghost, I’d probably just hang out in graveyards and spooky old houses and pretend I was “living” in an old movie.

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5. What’s your NBAS book about and why should we all run and buy it?

SuperGhost is the story of a mad scientist who steals phantom limbs from amputees, and uses them to build a giant ghost-monster. The amputees, of course, then have to band together to defeat the SuperGhost, save the city, and take back what’s rightfully theirs. Oh, and there’s ice cream!

I sometimes describe it as being like Frankenstein meets Ghostbusters meets Godzilla. It’s probably the weirdest kaiju story around, at least for the next day or two.

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Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth (Eraserhead Press), Hungry Darkness (Severed Press), and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

Bizarro Breaking News: Crocallo found in Thailand!


SISAKET:– Locals in Sisaket province believe they are in for a serious amount of good fortune following the discovery of a strange, and so far unidentified creature.

The animal, which looks to be covered in large scales, with a long crocodile like head, also appears to have the legs of calf and has left experts baffled.

According to ThaiRath, the creature died a short time after being born to an otherwise healthy buffalo which belongs to a local farmer.

Video footage from Matichon TV shows locals gathered around the creature, lighting incense sticks, believing that the animal, whatever it may be, will bring them luck.

via Thai Visa News

Video here:


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